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The Business Improvement District (BID) Levy


BID levy collection

In 2005, businesses in the London Bridge area voted to create a Business Improvement District (BID) for the five year period 2006-11. To fund the work of the operational organisation - Team London Bridge - each business within the BID area must pay a compulsory contribution, referred to as the BID levy. In 2010 businesses voted to continue this model for a further five years (2011-16).

Payment of the BID levy is compulsory for all businesses within the boundary of the London Bridge (BID) area that occupy premises with a rateable value of £10,000 or more. Collection of the levy is enforced under the same rules and processes as business rates collection.

Team London Bridge is not responsible for the collection of the levy as this is done on our behalf by Southwark Council. Therefore, any queries regarding the following should be taken up with Southwark Council directly:

  • levy payment
  • bills or reminder bills
  • disputes over liability for properties
  • recovery notices

Contact Southwark Council on 020 7525 3168 or bids@southwark.gov.uk.

How to work out your levy
    

The BID levy is based on the rateable value of the property (hereditament) that a business occupies. This is also how business rates are worked out. Since the start of the London Bridge BID, the levy charges have been as follows:

 

Levy equation for 07/08: 1.29% of rateable value (NB NOT business rates)

Levy equation for 08/09: 1.33% of rateable value

Levy equation for 09/10: 1.35% of rateable value
Levy equation for 10/11: 1.35% of rateable value
Levy equation for 11/12: 1.05% of rateable value
Levy equation for 12/13: 1.08% of rateable value 

Levy equation for 13/14: 1.11% of rateable value
Levy equation for 14/15: 1.14% of rateable value
Levy equation for 15/16: 1.17% of rateable value

The maximum BID levy payable on any one hereditament is capped at £50,000. 
 
Exemptions 
 

The following types of hereditament will be excluded from paying the BID levy (and therefore also from voting in any BID ballot): advertising hoardings, communications stations/telecom masts, schools, places of worship and ATMs. 

 
Businesses will receive discounts on their levy ONLY if:

 

  • They receive mandatory (80%) relief on their business rates.  Businesses will then have an 80% discount applied to their BID levy. This usually applies to charities and not-for-profit organisations.
  • They are wholly exempt from paying business rates (i.e. they have 80% mandatory relief, in addition to Southwark Council having also given them “discretionary” relief of a further 20%).  This usually applies to charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Empty property relief

 

Owners are usually liable for unoccupied properties.  Under business rates rules, businesses receive a 3-month period where they are exempt from paying business rates.  HOWEVER, a BID levy charge of 50% of the normal liability applies as soon as a property becomes vacant (i.e. no 3-month grace period).


The levy bills

 

  • BID regulations state that levy collection should use the same  information for billing as the business rates list.  Therefore, levy bills will arrive at the same addresses used for business rates bills. 
  • Levy bills are sent out at the beginning of March, for at least the first half of payment to be made in April. 
  • Many businesses choose to split their payments into two installments so that the second half is due in October.  However, they will not receive a repeat original or second bill – only a reminder notice. 
  • BID levy bills arrive seperately to business rates bills. 
  • One levy bill will arrive for each eligible property on the rating list.  So a business occupying three rateable properties may well receive three bills.

How to pay the levy

Businesses can either pay the BID levy in full, OR split the payment into two installments – (payments in April and October).

 

Payment can be made via the following methods:

 

  • Standing order
  • Online banking
  • Cheque or postal order

When making payment, it is essential that the following details are quoted. For example, on the back of a cheque the following should be included:

 

  • The BID Collection bank account number (quoted on the reverse of your levy bill)
  • The BID Collection account sortcode (quoted on the reverse of your levy bill)
  • The BID payment reference number(s) – numbers beginning and ending in '2', (also quoted on your bill).

This is so that Southwark Council can allocate payments to the correct collection account.

Please note: Businesses frequently pay their BID levy into the usual Council business rates account instead of the unique BID levy account by mistake. If this occurs, Southwark Council will not be able to trace the payment and the business may receive a reminder notice stating that they have yet to pay. In this instance, they should simply contact Southwark Council via the methods mentioned above and have the payment details to hand to help trace the payment. 


Reminder notices

 

Businesses will normally receive a reminder notice if they have not paid within a couple of weeks.  Southwark Council will advise when the reminder notices go out.

 

At this point, Team London Bridge has usually sent an e-mail to levypayers who have not paid.  This is to help them avoid the summons fee which is sent with the summons notices. 

 

However Team London Bridge is under no obligation to do this so businesses should not wait to pay until they receive the email.

 
Refunds
 
Where an occupier moves out of a property, they will receive a refund for the remainder of the year. Where an occupier moves in to a property part-way through the year. they will be charged from that point. 
 
Any overpayments will be credited to the next financial year or refunded as appropriate. Any reduction will be rationalised within a 12-month period unless otherwise agreed between Team London Bridge and Southwark Council. 
 
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